Should Alabama Stop Electing Its State Board of Education Members?

Alabama’s state education system currently operates under a eight-member elected school board. But there is a move to change the elected board to a commission appointed by the governor.

Gov. Kay Ivey says she’s delivered a letter to the State Board of Education, regarding a bill being filed by Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh in the Alabama Legislature today. The bill would change the state’s current elected State Board of Education to a Commission appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Alabama Senate.

If the bill is passed, it would have to be approved by voters statewide with a constitutional amendment.

The bill would create the Alabama Commission on Elementary and Secondary Education. It would consist of nine members with staggered terms of six years and would be term limited after two terms. It would be required to have the geographical, gender and racial diversity reflective of the public school system in Alabama, according to a statement from Marsh’s office.

In addition, the position of state school superintendent would be abolished and replaced with a Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education. The secretary would be appointed by the commission and confirmed by the Senate.

Currently, Alabama is one of only six states with an elected school board, according to Marsh’s office, which also says states that are performing at the highest level all have governor-appointed boards and all of Alabama’s neighbors have governor-appointed school boards.

The governor says she has held conversations with each of the board members and State Superintendent of Education Eric Mackey on this plan.

Because of her position as governor, Ivey is the president of the state school board.

“Since day one, I have made it abundantly clear to the people of Alabama, our students and educators across the state that improving our education system is a top priority of mine as governor. We can all agree that Alabama students should be given the opportunity for a quality education. Unfortunately, that is not happening today.

We have been listed at the bottom of just about every education ranking you can find. We need education leaders and a structure that works in the best interest of our students. With this bold change, we will establish accountability and stability at the top, improving educational outcomes for all students across the state. Our students and teachers deserve much more from our educational system, and this constitutional amendment is a way forward for Alabama’s future.

We must refuse to be complacent with our poor educational rankings. I strongly urge members of the Alabama Legislature and people across the state to join me in supporting this bill.”

— Information from the Office of Gov. Kay Ivey and the Office of State Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh

Categories: Montgomery, News, Statewide